Marie-Claude Guérard - Chief Financial Officer

Marie-Claude Guérard
  • Born: Issoudun, Quebec, Canada
  • Favourite subjects in school: Arts, mathematics and physical education
  • Education:
    • Bachelor's, business administration (accounting)
    • Member of the Quebec CPA Order
  • Job title: Director General of Space Science and Technology
  • Directorate: Space Science and Technology
  • Projects at the CSA: 2020 Objective, Continuous Improvement Committee

When I was young, my ambition was to become a boss. I was sure of it. I come from a small village and the Caisse populaireFootnote1 was in my house. The safe was in the kitchen. My mother was in charge of it. There were no computers back then, so she did everything on paper. That was my life, and it was normal at the time.

One day the bank expanded and moved to the other side of the street. Computers arrived on the scene. I would go do my homework in my father's office. I liked to be in an office with pencils and stacks of paper. I used to like to play boss. Even when I was in cégep and university, I would go across the street. Imagine, I had a key to the bank! I don't think that would happen today (laughs.) But, now, I have the keys to the Space Agency safe. (laughter)

Now that I am a boss, what motivates me is working with people who are always ready to outdo themselves. That inspires me. My greatest satisfaction is when we succeed at something together.

Marie-Claude Guérard, Chief Financial Officer

How do / did you reconcile work commitments and your family life?
It's an interesting question because there's no perfect answer! Here are my tricks for balancing work and family life. I would say that it requires a lot of discipline, excellent communication, open-mindedness, teamwork, good planning and a sense of humour. At work and at home, I'm in very good company. At home, the key right now – with four teenagers and my husband – is sharing an electronic family calendar that contains everyone's activities, travel, and important appointments. Family dinners are a perfect time to touch base and reconnect as a family – that's very important. At the office, with the valuable assistance of my inner circle, we review my agenda on a weekly basis, and we go through the key discussions and the issues that lie ahead. It's true that both at work and in my personal life, my schedule is quite full and changes constantly. By staying flexible and well equipped, we get things done, with a smile to boot!

Marie-Claude was Chief Financial Officer and kept a tight rein on the Canadian Space Agency's purse strings for nearly eight years. She currently serves as Director General of Space Science and Technology, and she is very happy to manage a large multidisciplinary team. She is responsible for the Space Capacity Development Program, which supports activities that range from pre-mission R&D to timely flight demonstration, while contributing to the development of the space workforce of the future, with the goal of positioning the Canadian space sector for global opportunities.

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